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Many variations on the name in front of this title then came and went (popular legend holds that the BBC considered Monty Python's Flying Circus to be a ridiculous name, at which point the group threatened to change their name every week until the BBC relented).Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus was named after a woman Palin had read about in the newspaper, thinking it would be amusing if she were to discover she had her own TV show.Gilliam's animations, meanwhile, ranged from the whimsical to the savage (the cartoon format allowing him to create some astonishingly violent scenes without fear of censorship).Several names for the show were considered before Monty Python's Flying Circus was settled upon.A self-contained comedy team responsible for both writing and performing their work, the Pythons had creative control which allowed them to experiment with form and content, discarding rules of television comedy.Following their television work, they began making films, which include Holy Grail (1975), Life of Brian (1979) and The Meaning of Life (1983).
Since Cleese, Chapman, and Idle were less concerned with the overall flow of the programme, Jones, Palin, and Gilliam became largely responsible for the presentation style of the Flying Circus series, in which disparate sketches are linked to give each episode the appearance of a single stream-of-consciousness (often using a Gilliam animation to move from the closing image of one sketch to the opening scene of another). Typically, Cleese and Chapman worked as one pair isolated from the others, as did Jones and Palin, while Idle wrote alone.In general, the work of the Oxford-educated members (Jones and Palin) was more visual, and more fanciful conceptually (e.g., the arrival of the Spanish Inquisition in a suburban front room), while the Cambridge graduates' sketches tended to be more verbal and more aggressive (for example, Cleese and Chapman's many "confrontation" sketches, where one character intimidates or hurls abuse, or Idle's characters with bizarre verbal quirks, such as "The Man Who Speaks In Anagrams").Cleese confirmed that "most of the sketches with heavy abuse were Graham's and mine, anything that started with a slow pan across countryside and impressive music was Mike and Terry's, and anything that got utterly involved with words and disappeared up any personal orifice was Eric's".Recordings of Footlights' revues (called "Smokers") at Pembroke College include sketches and performances by Cleese and Idle, which, along with tapes of Idle's performances in some of the drama society's theatrical productions, are kept in the archives of the Pembroke Players.Following the success of Do Not Adjust Your Set, a tea-time children's programme, ITV offered Gilliam, Idle, Jones, and Palin their own late-night adult comedy series together.
The Pythons had a definite idea about what they wanted to do with the series.